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The Wall Street Journal’s Bill McGurn said Friday it’s likely that Democrats are wondering who “blabbed” to U.S. Attorney John Durham after he announced that a top FBI lawyer would plead guilty to one count of altering evidence during the Russia probe into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
His comments come a day after Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General William Barr last year to look into the origins of the so-called “Spygate” counterintelligence investigation, announced that former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith agreed to plead guilty to altering a FISA court application to spy on then-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
During an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, McGurn was asked to respond to a series of video clips in which Democrats, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California and presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, dismissed Durham’s investigation as politically motivated.
“Is that a risk?” Baier asked McGurn.
(Source: Fox News)
“Yeah, look, they talk about this because they don’t want to talk about the basic facts,” McGurn said, noting that Clinesmith, 38, “was caught red-handed.”
“He’s an FBI lawyer who altered a document to make Carter Page look guilty,” McGurn added.
Clinesmith was found by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to have changed a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court application to hide the fact that Page was a CIA asset.
McGurn also pointed out that “no one’s reporting the other statements that he’s made,” including writing in a text that was unearthed by Horowitz after Trump’s victory, “I am so stressed about what I could have done differently.”
Clinesmith also texted “Viva la Resistance!” weeks later, and “was worried his name was all over the documents investigating President Trump,” the WSJ reporter added.
“Now, what’s interesting about this is three things. First, the attorney general said … [the Clinesmith plea] would be a development, but a modest one, which it was.
“Second, that implies there might be bigger developments to come,” McGurn continued. “Third, it shows that when he’s making charges, it’s based on novel interpretations of the law.
“It’s based on a pretty black-and-white case, you know, a real meat-and-potatoes violation. And I think the big thing that no one’s talking about, if you have a deal, as you say, there’s usually a quid pro quo,” he continued.
“It probably means that Clinesmith blabbed and all the other parties in this have to be wondering, ‘What did Clinesmith tell them about me?’” McGurn added. “And it may be a signal, also, for others — they might want to cut their own deals.”
While at the FBI, Clinesmith worked under former FBI General Counsel James Baker and reported directly to now-fired counterintelligence official Peter Strzok.
Baker, who was hired in June by Twitter, was the top lawyer during the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into allegations the Trump campaign was ‘colluding’ with Russia to beat Clinton.
In his role, he supported decisions to obtain surveillance warrants against Page.
“I’ve said the American people need to know what actually happened. We need to get the story of what happened in 2016 and 2017 out. That will be done,” Barr said.
“If people crossed the line, if people involved in that activity violated the criminal law they will be charged.”
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